Gamescom 2018

Gamescom stepsAt Gamescom again this year, but unusually I have client projects to offer to publishers – and really interesting ones too! Looking forward to finding out what the dev community makes of these games. Still interested in meeting with anyone who needs game design, narrative design, or script services, and also with game writers with experience in narrative design, so let me know if you want to meet up in Cologne.

Cross-posted from No new A Hundred Cyborgs pieces while I'm away, but we have two more this month to complete All Request August. Watch this space!

Speaking Gigs for Chris Bateman May-July 2018

You can catch me in all the following places in the UK and Europe over the Summer…

Twitter Chris Coffee

Thursday May 10th: Cyborg Living (London)

The Book Launch event for The Virtuous Cyborg

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, we have become cyborgs – human-machine hybrids. Whether it’s Facebook selling our personal data to be ‘weaponised’ by Cambridge Analytica, or Google suggesting answers to questions like “are women evil?” to people who asked for no such thing, our lives are affected by the machines we are living with. Cybernetic networks are all around us – and thinking about ‘neutral tools’ is no longer helpful. You’re already a cyborg… join us to help find out what would make a good cyborg!

Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
2-4 Hoxton Square
London, N1 6NU


Tuesday May 29th: The Secret of Game Narrative (Košice, Slovak Republic)

How do you make the most of stories in games? Does your game need a narrative? Players agree that they value good storytelling in games, but what counts as a great game story depends in part upon the different ways that players enjoy games. This makes getting great stories into videogames much more challenging than any other medium. Award-winning game designer and narrative designer Chris Bateman invites you to discover how games tell stories. Once it becomes clear that every game creates a narrative, the question isn’t whether you need one but how much of your development resources you need to commit to supporting the stories your game is already telling.

Kino Úsmev Košice
Cassie Square 1
040 01 Košice


Thursday June 28th: Are You a Good Cyborg? (Manchester)

North West Book Launch event for The Virtuous Cyborg

A couple get married after a robot selected them as potential romantic partners. A politician loses an election in the aftermath of an erroneous story widely shared on social media. A teenager is run over as they cross the street while playing an alternative reality game. As humans let computers into ever more aspects of their lives, it becomes clear that there’s no such thing as a ‘neutral tool’ in the internet connected world. We've been living with robots - and acting as cyborgs - for quite some time now. Smartphones, laptops, fitness trackers, social networks, search engines... our world is filled with human-robot pairings, and it’s not always clear which half is pushing the buttons. The virtues of the kind of cyborg we have become must surely depend not only on who we are, but also upon the kinds of robots we use.

First Street
Manchester M15 4FN

Link pending


Saturday July 7th: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Moral Multiverse (Sheffield)

Part of Festival 23 presents Catch 23 

Grab your towel and set off on a grand adventure through the moral multiverse with award-winning game designer, philosopher, and Discordian Polyfather Chris Bateman as he invites you to rethink everything you thought you knew about ethics, get beaten up by 8-bit Aristotle, and face the Vogons in the never-ending tragedy of bureaucracy. Babel fish not required.

Yellow Arch Studios
30-36 Burton Rd
Sheffield S3 8BX


Tuesday July 10th: What Players Want - Understanding Player Diversity (Brighton)

A Games Design Track session at Develop Brighton 

Everyone who makes games is in the business of designing for an audience, but understanding what players want has become increasingly difficult the broader and more diverse the audience for videogames has become. Combining cutting edge psychological research with practical game design techniques, this How To talk puts player enjoyment into a more concrete perspective. Don’t guess at your audience: understand them, and yourself, and learn to make better games.

Develop Brighton
Hilton Brighton Metropole
Kings Road
Brighton BN1 2FU


Further gigs will be added as they are confirmed.

Going to Gamescom


International Hobo Ltd will be at Europe’s biggest games industry event, Gamescom. We’re available for meetings on Wednesday 23rd and the morning of Thursday 24th of August.

We’re particular interested in meeting with:

  • Publishers looking for pre-dev game design support or audit
  • Publishers or Developers needing narrative or dialogue services
  • Anyone we already know, or who would like to meet us!

Get in touch through the usual channels (contact link in the sidebar here, if all else fails).

Look forward to seeing you in Cologne!

Cross-posted from

A Colloquial Colloquium

Wax SealWill be holding a colloquium (which means literally ‘get together to talk’) in an as-yet-unspecified pub in Manchester on Friday 11th November – not coincidentally, the Discordian festival of Fortuna. Three folks, myself included, confirmed, but I’m looking for a fourth and fifth. An interest in my philosophy might be helpful, but would not be required. Drinks, conversation, a little philosophy, inevitably flowing over into politics, probably some media industry talk too (music, games etc.)…

If you want in, please contact me through the usual channels. This is virtuous discourse in person, over a single malt or a pint. Whether you’re a player of the Game or just someone who’d like to have a chat with me, if you’ll be in or around Manchester that evening you’d be more than welcome.

The Aesthetic Flaws of Games - in Polish

The wonderful Ewa Stasiak has begun work translating some of my work on games into Polish over at a new website Hobo Nest. The first post is based on last year’s The Aesthetics Flaws of Games, which she translates as Wady Estetyczne Gier. Here’s an extract:

Sednem jest, by zrozumieć, że reguły gry, jej mechanika i systemy są reprezentacjami bardzo szczególnego rodzaju – mianowicie reprezentacjami matematycznymi. Ważne jest, by to sobie uświadomić, gdyż nieczęsto zauważamy, że liczby i formuły są u podstaw przedstawieniowe, mimo iż jest to powszechnie przyjęte w ogólnym zarysie. Liczba trzy jest reprezentacją mocy zbioru: każdy zbiór trzech elementów, na przykład trzy reguły światów gier, jest więc reprezentowany przez liczbę trzy. Podobnie kształt krzywej dzwonowej, który przedstawiamy na wykresie funkcji Gaussa dla (powiedzmy) dwóch sześciościennych kostek, reprezentuje dystrybucję rezultatów rzutu nimi. Właśnie dlatego, że matematyka może i musi przedstawiać – przedmioty ścisłe, które wdrażają równania (jak fizyka) są w stanie otrzymywać formuły, które oddają zjawiska takie jak grawitacja i przepływ elektryczny.

So if Polish is the language for you, and you’ve longed to read my work in a Western-Slavonic tongue, head on over to Hobo Nest and check out Wady Estetyczne Gier!

Cross-posted from

Futurism v Fatalism: Thursday 16th June

The Explorers ChronicleNext week, I'm honoured to be part of a special event as part of the new exhibition by acclaimed DJ, artist, and record producer Justin Robertson. The exhibition is The Explorer's Chronicle, which sounds utterly fascinating:

The cornerstone of the exhibition is the first showing of Justin’s new collection of art - presented in a mixture of media. Drawing on the great tradition of botanical sketching, his inspirational work depicts the flora and fauna of this alternate universe, finding inspiration in the patterns of the natural world. Other themes include magik, possession, the supernatural, fantastical creatures, the history of belief, past times and cultures, uncertainty and alien life forms. A dedicated book of illustration and text and a bespoke soundtrack will accompany the exhibition.

My event, on the second day of the exhibition, is Futurism v Fatalism: Is the Internet liberating or imprisoning?, with free tickets available from the preceding link. I'm thrilled to be on the bill with an array of awesome folks such as:

  • John Higgs, author of Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned A Million Pounds and I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary.
  • Gary Lachman, founding member of Blondie (as Gary Valentine) and author of Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the WorldPolitics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen, and The Caretakers of the Cosmos: Living Responsibly in an Unfinished World.
  • Nina Lyon, co-organiser of Hay-on-Wye's How The Light Gets In festival, and author of Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man and Mushroom Season.

I'll be giving a presentation entitled Cyberfetish and the World of Tomorrow, the blurb for which I ran a few weeks back, and asking what we can learn from the Cyberpunk literary movement of the 1980s.

The exhibition is free and doesn't require a ticket, but you need to get tickets for the Futurism v Fatalism event at Ransom Note's eventcube page.

Hope to see you there!

Deleted from the Wikipedia

Deleted StampLate last week, one of my students asked me what had happened to my Wikipedia page. I said I didn’t know, but upon investigation found that I had been deleted. Nine days after I announced Wikipedia Knows Nothing, a Wikipedia Czar called a tribunal, and within a week my page had been executed. While this could be a coincidence, after a decade of no interest in my page at all it certainly seems like a retaliatory gesture – and one, I might add, that would violate the values and policies of the Wikipedia if that were its motivation. In a brutal irony, it is this kind of abuse that Wikipedia Knows Nothing warns about, while maintaining the inherent value and potential of wikis as tools. It is far more a book against double blind peer review than against the Wikipedia, and given that the manuscript was available at the time for any reader to offer feedback on, the implications don’t look flattering for the masked Czar in question.

Now it may be that I am indeed no longer ‘Notable’, since Wikipedia has undergone considerable notability-inflation in the ten years since I was first declared ‘Notable’ in 2006. But it’s also apparent that the tribunal did not really take into account that notability is a disjunctive operation: the decision to delete was made by saying I didn’t meet the criteria for academic notability (which is an arguable, but defensible position). But I was originally declared notable for my creative work in games, which is a criteria that doesn’t appear to have been applied at all. Not to mention that I can’t shake the feeling that the ‘research’ done to establish my status was essentially a few quick Google searches. It must be asked: are the random people who happen to respond within a week the likely domain experts on an article? This implies that rather than the Wikipedia genuinely being something ‘anyone can edit’, the power to make lasting edits rests with those who edit daily… in that respect, the claim that ‘anyone can edit the Wikipedia’ is a bit like the claim that ‘anyone can become the Catholic Pope’.

Anyway, if you can have a government in exile, you can have a page of Wikipedia in exile – and here’s mine, simply entitled Wikipedia in Exile: Chris Bateman. I’m still not happy with this entry, alas. I waited five years between declared ‘Notable’ and getting any content – which I had to add myself (along with the self-awarded badge of shame this action required), and I just threw in everything that I thought would be good raw material for a future editor to prune, not realising that no-one would ever stop to give it a proper edit. That’s the trouble with a self-selective encyclopaedia: you get thousands of pages about minor Marvel comic characters, and myriad conspicuous gaps and elisions. In the eyes of the Wikipedia, I am now less significant than Bird-brain, who appeared in a minor role in just seven issues of The New Mutants between 1987 and 1988. That fact in itself is good for a chuckle.

Sharing is Overbearing

I’ve removed the sharing buttons in the footer of each post: Typepad was contacting each social network every time a page was served, which makes the site run far slower than is necessary. I don’t think anyone was using these buttons, but let me know if you did find them useful.

Ideapod as a Social Intelligence Network

IdeapodNot six months after writing about social intelligence networks, and one has launched. Entitled Ideapod, it fulfils many of the aims I outlined last year. They’ve invited me to join, and since I asked for something like this it would be churlish not to participate!

It is operating at roughly the scale I designated ‘Thoughts’ (100 words – a minute to read), with their actual constraint being 1,000 characters. I am a supporter of constraints of this kind, having seen how Twitter refines bons mots, jokes, and taglines with its 140 character limit. The key to Ideapod’s set up is the ability to ‘relate’ one idea to another idea – which is why I think this qualifies as a SIN. It will be interesting to see how this works out in practice.

Because I am still more comfortable with an essay or letter as a form of discourse, being on Ideapod shouldn’t to detract from the blogs – it will just allow me to synthesise ideas formed here and in my books into shorter statements to be ‘related’ in their database. But it’s interesting to see the SIN idea tested out in an actual programmed system.